Guess I'll be the one that looks a little negatively at this update.
I feel like with this week's changes, the game takes a huge step backwards.
Instead of starting with a pick or making it researchable/upgradeable, it gets removed altogether.
This is a failure of the developers, and not of the players. You're polishing the content so it's "new player friendly", which is fine. So... why not expose them to acquiring the picks and stuff in a logical way? If someone immediately jumps into freeplay they'll get lost and overwhelmed and they should. You need to guide new players to do the
tutorial campaign to understand how the game plays, get them into the right mindset, and then they'll start figuring things out. You have to show them "This is what Factorio is!", not cut features to make sure they don't get lost.
Combat in the game has a certain progression. You start with a shotgun or grenades and are able to take down a few nests. Then you find out you're too slow, so you need mobility and you build a car. This lets you clear a ton of nests away, great! Then Medium Worms show up and it becomes too risky to push back, so you research a tank, and can run stuff over for a long time, it even has flamethrowers and artillery, plus you can toss grenades, wow! Eventually it can't keep pace so you build more military stuff to keep up, artillery, and eventually Modular Armor that gives you so much more than a tank can.
So what I take from this: Doing something manually is strong at first, wanes in the middle, then shines later. So why not have manual mining tools later on, like a nuclear-powered hand drill? Sure, it would mine faster, but the downside is that it takes up your time away from building - a drawback! Or other non-combat vehicles, like a harvester that collects trees on impact or a directed 3x3 mining vehicle that again is a little faster, or comes with a mobile furnace. Sure, the game is about automation, but these let you experiment with alternate strategies instead of spamming the same streamer-optimized blueprint every game.
(And as a side note, it's also unfortunate to see damage types be removed, when again all you need to do is add more biter types to flesh out some of the combat mechanics. Make some biters that are different colors and resistant to different damage types at every tier, then use the random seed to see how prevalent they are or something. That way, defense isn't just "spam 50 laser turrets I win")
Factorio has a large, thriving community and watching it grow is a good thing. Seeing content and mechanics aggressively cut feels really bad. Why should new players have such an adverse affect on the mechanical depth and gameplay? It should be the other way around: they play this game, and adapt to it.